GOP uses Hillary against Obama

Hoping to spoil this week’s political embrace of erstwhile foes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Republicans are picking at festering wounds from the Democratic White House primary battle.

Presumptive nominee Obama and his vanquished foe will make a choreographed effort to repair party fractures at a fundraiser in Washington Thursday and, in an event rich with symbolism, in the town of Unity, New Hampshire, on Friday.

But backers of Republican candidate John McCain see the reconciliation offensive as a chance to detonate unspent political ammunition from Clinton’s attacks that still litter the campaign trail.

Senior Democrats had always feared the bile of the prolonged Democratic nomination struggle, which effectively cleaved the party’s core support in two, could damage whoever emerged as the party champion.

That is one reason why Clinton, despite losing the contest, still has a vital role in unifying the party, and remains an important ally in Obama’s quest for the presidency.

As the Democratic epic unfolded, the former first lady, ex-president Bill Clinton and surrogates questioned Obama’s commander-in-chief credentials and dismissed him as an eloquent wordsmith with a thin resume.

Among Democrats, those attacks may have been damaging, but were not decisive. The question now is will McCain’s use of similar tactics be more successful and find a more receptive audience in the national electorate?

"Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience, and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002," Clinton said in March.

Those remarks have already been circulated by the Republican National Committee (RNC), with a litany of other Clinton barbs.

The most notorious Clinton attack on Obama was a chilling ad asking who voters wanted in the Oval Office to take a 3:00 am telephone call on a breaking national security crisis.

McCain has taken up where Clinton left off, hitting Obama for inexperience, and trying to make this campaign, like President George W. Bush’s 2004 triumph over Democrat John Kerry, a referendum on who will keep America safe.

The Arizona senator’s foreign policy aide Randy Scheunemann said last week Obama was the "perfect manifestation of a September 10 mindset," raising the September 11 attacks in a discussion on how to prosecute terror suspects.

"If Obama did receive that 3:00 am phone call, I guess his response would be to call lawyers at the Justice Department," Scheunemann said.

McCain has attacked Obama’s chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee which has some oversight over NATO and has yet to probe the US-led mission in Afghanistan — another recycled Clinton attack.

"He has not held one single hearing on Afghanistan where young Americans are in harm’s way as we speak. My friends, this is about leadership," McCain said in Nevada in May.

Answering Clinton on the issue in March, Obama aides said the senator only took over the Senate Foreign Relations committee’s panel on European affairs in January 2007, just as he hit the campaign trail.

On Monday, the RNC issued a "campaign countdown" to the Clinton-Obama meeting, featuring pointed past comments by attack dogs in her press team foreshadowing Obama’s policy reversal last week on campaign financing.

McCain’s assaults on Obama seem particularly aimed at the blue-collar, white voters who flocked to Clinton in droves during the primary season and who form a potent political force in battlegrounds like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"Those sorts of attacks can have more credibility when they come from the candidate’s own party," said Dante Scala, a political scientist at the University of New Hampshire.

"If McCain attacks Obama it is kind of chalked up as par for the course but when they can use a quotation from his own party, I think that is something else."

Throughout the primary race, Clinton’s attacks on Obama often backfired because they exposed her own political liabilities.

When she attacked Obama on experience, for example, the Obama campaign ridiculed her claims that her global travels as first lady prepared her to be president.

Whether McCain’s attacks will be insulated by his military heroism and long service in the US Congress, and therefore prove more successful, may be one of the keys to November’s election.


  1. Flapsaddle

    This surprises exactly who?

    As the ciphers who pass for leadership in the Democratic party sat around and played with their private parts and nattered about “democracy” and “every vote counts”, the extended and bitter campaign – particularly the racism of the Clinton campaign – left a lot of unexpended ordnance laying around for the GOP to pick up and detonate; i. e., the political equivalent of the IED.

    The GOP needs only look at what the Clintons tried and what worked in order to configure the remainder against Obama.

    A casual observer, unfamiliar with the self-mutilating tendencies of Democrats in electoral rut, might have easily reached the conclusion that their nominating process was secretly controlled by Karl Rove’s operatives.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  2. Carl Nemo

    Great thoughts TJF concerning this ongoing Democratic “dog and pony” show.

    Obama needs to distance himself from Hillary and her so-called campaign trail help, immediately if not sooner!

    His recent leanings towards Sam Nunn and John Edwards as VP candidates also have me concerned. Nunn is a 71 year old “thought-retread” from the past with John Edwards representing the failed half of a bid for the presidency in 2004. Americans don’t like to associate themselves with losers regardless of the circumstances.

    Better choices would be Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico or Jim Webb, Senator from Virginia. Obama needs a VP with some gravitas that’s capable of generating enthusiasm within the electorate. Also folks better start paying attention to who these VP candidates might be, even moreso than the President since they are only a heartbeat away from the office.

    Obama best wake up and quit being so obsequieous towards Hillary concerning her being a worthy foe etc. and fawning over McCain’s service to his country. Everytime Obama opens up one of his public appearances with his duty jive adulation of these two, it flips my stomach.

    Things are looking quite bad at this time and as farfetched as this might sound, John McCain just might slide into the presidency this November with everyone that wanted change simply going “wut da f**k”…!?

    Maybe Obama is that “empty suit” that everyone’s claimed from the beginning. It’s beginning to seem that way. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Timr

    TJ, what mud that HRC threw at BO actually stuck? I have been under the impression that BO handled himself quite well, and the the clinton campaign became extremely frustrated because nothing that they threw at BO stuck. That he did not respond in kind to Clinton made some think that he was another Kerry, but what he was doing was respecting another dem, and realizing that he could not go after her without really pissing off her supporters. However, now he has no reason to either hold back or not counterattack. Well his supporters will attack/counterattack while BO stays well above the fray, and points out sadly every time that st john dives into the political mud bath that the repigs keep around, ready to drag out and start flinging at a moments notice. After all, what else can st john do? If you can not refute the message, kill the messenger, which directs attention of the MSM(the lazy feks who can not or will not do any actual reporting-see timmah as the prototype)off the subject that was the point of the original message. The real question is, will the sheeple buy into the kill the messenger meme of the rethug party(again), or have they finally seen thru it.

  4. Flapsaddle

    Very little stuck to Obama. Clinton never really grasped the paradigm shift represented by her opponent; she was like the French waiting behind the Maginot Line while the German Blitzkrieg enveloped them.

    I think that Obama handled himself very well – not perfectly, because no such parry is – but he never really lost the initiative and/or let himself be distracted.

    The advantage that the GOP has is that they got a free shot at how Obama handles things, and they saw what actually had some traction. Rove & Co. are not stupid and they will take full advantage of every possible chink in Obama’s armor.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  5. Timr

    carl nemo, don’t get too excited just yet. It has been only 2 weeks since the last of the primaries, and the convention is still more than a month away. The pundocracy will continue to spout breathlessly over who Obama or st john will pick as VP-maybe st john will pick a lobbyist, he has bunchs of them “working for him”, doesn’t the man know anyone other than lobbyists? Most come from the telecom sector, just how far into their pocket is st john? But of course with the MSM concentrating is might on the real issues-flag pins, hand on heart during the pledge, terrorist fist bump, etc etc etc-all they have is speculation on who will be selected. As long as Obama does not pick a Dan Quale type, or HRC I think all will be well. Be patient. Rumors abound, but no one in the MSM has a clue. I have even heard that st john is going to select Gen David Patraeus-I wonder if the rethugs who have been bandying his name about even know what he is. Is he dem, rethug, or indi. Who knows. But that will not stop the pundocracy from speculating.

  6. Siannan

    Bill Richardson? Please, talk about Bill Clinton-lite. And Jim Webb is nothing more than a republican in democrat clothing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to repeat my daughter’s words, Obama is an empty suit. And I’ll go even one further, he’s going to lose in November.

  7. woody188

    LOL, I’ve been predicting a McCain victory since he received “Joementum” many months ago.

    People are starting to see it doesn’t matter which party you vote for. Both are for globalization which will bring about the end of the US middle class. Obama, McCain, they are both the same.

    Voting does not matter. It’s all rigged. The more people figure that out, the better off we will be. Unfortunately, it will too late for most of us, myself included.

  8. RafaelApollo

    They’ve been using her from the beginning and she has been a willing accomplice from the start.

    Obama needs to just get as far away from this shrew and possible and , pardon the expression- “keep running.”

    The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be lighted.

  9. ridingchick


    I am so happy to know you can predict the future. Can you give me the winning numbers for state lotteries around the nation and some key stock information so I can become wealthy?

    Thank you,


  10. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Hey Riding Chick, what do you think of your hero, Sir Obama of Camelot voting for giving the Telecommunications Industry
    Retro-Active Immunity for Spying on Americans emails & phone calls! Sir Obama of Camelot has refused to vote along with Senator Russ Feingold & Christopher Dodd in a fillibuster so these corporations can be held accountable for their complicit tyrst with the Chimp engaging in lawbreaking of the FISA court.